Girls volleyball: Stevenson's state wait is over
Tim Crow must have thought it was easy.
As an assistant coach at Stevenson, he watched the Patriots' volleyball team make a Downstate trip. And then he got his head coaching position.
Five years went by. Ten years went by. It's Year 15 now. No, it didn't approach the Cubs' streak but Crow's volleyball team is finally headed to state for the first time since 2001.
Stevenson (32-7) edged an improved DeKalb squad, 25-21, 25-22 in the Class 4A Dundee-Crown supersectional on Saturday afternoon. The Patriots will head to Redbird Arena in Normal next Friday to play Minooka in the state semifinals.
"I'm so excited,'' Crow said. "And I'm more relieved for our coaching staff (Allison Fink, Margaret Salata, Eric Goolish and Jeff Blezien). "They have helped with the scouting. They are invaluable. I'm just happy for them."
On a Sydney Erickson serve, the Stevenson lead was 10-5 in set one. The Patriots were breezing.
"This is unbelievable,'' Erickson said. "I never thought this would happen. Our serving was a big contribution today. I was pumped up."
Erickson, a senior, has worked her way up the ladder to make the varsity in her senior season.
"It's hard to believe we are going to state,'' Erickson said.
So much for the breeze through this DeKalb team. The twosome of Hannah Oehlberg and Jasmine Kemp began to find the range against the Stevenson defense.
"Oh, my gosh,'' Crow said. "We were hoping that they were changing their rotation,'' Crow said. "We needed to get them off the court."
The Pats would answer back with their senior extraordinaire, Jori Radtke. She notched 10 kills. Also firing for Stevenson was lefty sophomore Sophie Sorenson.
"There is so much chemistry on this team,'' Sorenson said. "This has been a great experience."
Oelberg (15 kills) hammered another kill as DeKalb grabbed a 15-14 lead in set one. Radtke was at the serving line when the Pats regained the lead. Sorenson delivered a kill and Radtke managed a pair of aces in the run.
"We had the momentum going into the second set,'' Sorenson said. "They had some good hitters. But we played our best."
The DeKalb lead was 8-5 in set two. And then Erickson went in to serve. She nailed an ace. DeKalb still led 15-14. Radtke's serve brought her team back and a block from Sara Bufe gave the Pats the state trip.
"The girls stuck together,'' Crow said. "They have grown as players and so has their character."